As a career civil servant, I have often wondered how we might possible solve so many social problems with so few dollars, so many pressures and so many seemingly powerless attempts to save us from our failures. It has not been one event, but so many; week after week, month after month and year after year that have impressed upon me that our service to the people of this country has been frustrated not so much by the vicissitudes of the budget, or of politicians or programs, but of something much more elemental.
I believe we need a New American Dream. This old, frustrating and repeating nightmare of material possessions as a way of finding happiness gets me down. It depresses well-rounded folk into welfare dependency. It begets gambling debts and pyramid schemes.
We need to dream of strong arms that embrace; not those which sink ships and bring down planes. I believe the American Dream should not be one we fitfully, wishfully sleep to, but one we wake to assuring the basic goods for citizens. This dream and the democracy that come with it would export easily and the world would quickly believe.
I believe that those who sell an ersatz American Dream that does not include the strong embrace, the careful sharing, the reciprocity of the smile, the edification of future generations and the consolidation of community – lead us down the path to an end our founding fathers warned us against – tyranny and despair.
I see many poor people lend each other a hand. Yet the numbers of the working poor seem to grow each year. Why? I believe Americans have suffered under the weight of our traditional Dream, and to survive, we must redefine.
I believe we must redefine the sense of freedom and wealth we have so wrongly attached to the concept of this old American Dream. I believe in a New American Dream that lovingly embraces inclusion, progressively embraces free health care and education for everyone, firmly embraces the value of work and service, faithfully devalues the philosophy of the sanctity of personal wealth; but holds in its open hand the key to the richness of our American community.
I believe in an American Dream that includes a willingness and faith that paying taxes results in the administration of a common good. I believe in an American Dream that is far from this nightmare that drives so many to want what only one percent of us hold. I believe we must forge no more a dream deferred. I believe the time has come for the emergence of a New American Dream.
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